Wattpad is a platform that allows authors to network and build a following of readers. For many, it has helped launch their careers, and for some, it has been a bit of a time suck. So, can a Wattpad account be an asset for your author career?
In today’s Wattpad review, I’ll be delving deep into the platform to see what it has to offer and giving you my honest opinion on its pros and cons — and whether or not it is worth it.
- What Wattpad offers writers
- Wattpad’s community features
- The Pros and Cons of Wattpad
Table of contents
- What Exactly Is Wattpad?
- Wattpad Review For Writers – The Process
- Wattpad Review – Book Marketing Tools
- What You Need To Know Before Signing Up for Wattpad
- What Are Wattpad Stories Like?
- Best Practices for Building a Wattpad Community
- The Wattpad App
- Wattpad Pros and Cons
- Wattpad Review – My Final Take
Let’s get to it!
What Exactly Is Wattpad?
Wattpad describes itself as a ‘social story-telling platform’.
It makes use of technology and community in order to help writers find an audience for their serialized novel, short stories, etc., and for readers to find new up-and-coming writers to check out and follow.
The company is based out of Toronto, and has a very hip ethos and aesthetic. They make it clear that the platform is primarily intended for Millennials and members of Generation Z. As such, you can expect a pretty groovy, inclusive type of vibe from Wattpad.
However, the way a company describes itself is one thing. What it actually does is another.
So what is the actual bread and butter of Wattpad?
- Talent discovery: Wattpad is a little like shows such as the X Factor or The Voice, but specifically for writers. Anyone is welcome to join and start publishing their work for free. Only the ones who get a good response go further in the process. How? Wattpad offers resources for writers to grow and develop. The best of the best become eligible for specialist programs connecting them with publishing houses and even TV and movie production companies.
- Social platform: You can think of Wattpad as a sort of social network for writers and readers. Instead of it being a place to like cat videos shared with you by a distant relative, it’s a platform to discover stories. It aims to give writers a place to express their unique voice, and has a broad and inclusive approach to genre.
- Technology: As you’d expect from a start-up company targeting millennials and members of Generation Z, tech has a big part to play. This is apparent both on the front and back ends of the Wattpad service. Behind the scenes, Wattpad makes use of machine learning and AI to spot the brightest stories among its many uploads. On the front end, Wattpad offers a mobile app to allow readers and writers to connect on the devices they love the most.
In a nutshell, Wattpad is a social platform for lovers of the written word. It offers opportunities for writers to get their art discovered and for readers to find new favorite stories and artists.
The rest of this Wattpad review will focus on what the service has to offer for writers. If you’re a writer, what can Wattpad do for you, and is there anything you need to be wary of?Is Wattpad the right place for you and your work? Check out this Wattpad review and judge for yourself! #writers #amwritingClick To Tweet
Wattpad Review For Writers – The Process
Signing up for Wattpad is easy, as you can see from the below image. You can either quickly register through email, or use one of your social accounts to gain access.
So how exactly does Wattpad claim to help writers? They break up the process of using Wattpad from an author perspective into three stages.
- Create: The first stage of using Wattpad as a writer is to create your story. You are given pretty much free reign to write how you want and in whichever genre you wish. You can check out a full list of genres a little later in this article, but it’s fairly comprehensive. You can shoot from the hip, or make use of the writing resources provided by Wattpad to shape your story.
- Build: Wattpad describes the “build” stage of the process as “establishing a global fanbase.” To be fair, the service does have over 70 million readers from around the world, and the metrics show that readers do spend a large amount of time on the platform per session. However, there are, of course, no guarantees. Your ability to tap into this potential fan base will depend upon the quality of your stories and the effort you put in to promoting them.
- Amplify: If your work gains traction on Wattpad (as judged by the service’s machine learning algorithm, taking into account factors such as popularity and engagement) you may get a chance to monetize through the Wattpad platform. Top performing stories gain the chance to get a publishing or movie deal. Of course, these are a minority of the stories published. Most writers will not be able to monetize through Wattpad.
Now that we have an overview of the three stages of the Wattpad process, let’s go deeper and see exactly how Wattpad aims to help you.
What resources does it offer, and what claims does it make about helping you as an author?
Wattpad Review – Book Marketing Tools
You now know that Wattpad is a social tech platform for writers and readers, and you have an overview of the three stage journey for Wattpad authors.
So what specifically is being offered?
Readers. Wattpad has a passionate community of readers, currently over 70 million. I would expect this number to grow, as the company has some major investors behind it and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. As a writer, finding a passionate and engaged readership is often half the challenge. Wattpad gives you an off-the-shelf audience to share your work with.
Genres. Wattpad offers a ton of genres you can publish in. These are:
|Random||Romance||Science Fiction||Short Story||Spiritual|
As you can see, that’s pretty comprehensive! There are of course sub-genres within each of the above. The bottom line is Wattpad is a suitable platform for niche authors and a great place to find engaged readers of almost any persuasion and preference.
Contests: Wattpad regularly offers writing contests. These are often offered in conjunction with events and major brands, such as a recent partnership with Converse sneakers in order to celebrate International Women’s Day. As well as being a fun community feature, winning a contest is good for your author CV, and there are prizes as well.
Awards: Wattpad has their own awards ceremony, “The Wattys,” which has been going since 2010. It celebrates a mixture of established and breakthrough writers who publish through Wattpad.
Authors can also gain exposure through Wattpad by being featured as a “pick.” Picks are stories chosen by the Wattpad editors, and they gain a greater level of exposure than regular stories.
Conference: Wattpad hosts an annual conference, known was Wattcon. It is a chance for authors and readers to get together, share tips, find mentorship opportunities, and take their online love of reading and writing into the real world.
Community: The community aspect of Wattpad is a cornerstone of the platform. It offers a chance for readers to give feedback and help writers grow. Authors can also directly engage with fans of their genre and hopefully turn them into fans of their work in particular.
Wattpad Next Beta: This is a pilot monetization program from Wattpad. It allows readers to unlock the next part of a story by donating to a writer they are a fan of. It is a new program so expect some teething problems. Wattpad may expand this beyond beta in the future if it is a success.
As you see, Wattpad offers a lot of extra awesomeness in addition to its core offerings of a social network.
So, what exactly does Wattpad mean for writers in terms of numbers, rights, and hard facts and figures?
What You Need To Know Before Signing Up for Wattpad
Authors are often skeptical, and rightly so. There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there.
So what are the no-gloss, straight up facts about Wattpad you need to know as an author?
- Rights: You own the full rights to your work. Wattpad doesn’t. Your writing is protected by copyright as soon as you publish it. You can remove it from the platform and publish it elsewhere any time. You can also offer stories you’ve shared via Wattpad to publishers, and these are not legally viewed as reprints.
- Monetization: The monetization stage of Wattpad is in beta. It’s not the primary purpose of the platform. However, the top-performers receive opportunities for publishing deals and even links to movie and TV studios.
- Growth: Wattpad offers a ton of free resources to help you grow as a writer. These include craft tips, such as character development, and marketing tips, such as boosting the engagement your work receives on the Wattpad platform.
If your primary purpose is to make money through your writing, Wattpad might not be the best pick for you. However, it definitely doesn’t impede you from doing so elsewhere.
What Are Wattpad Stories Like?
Wattpad stories tend to be fast-paced, plot driven narratives aimed at younger audiences.
The stories on Wattpad are typically written in short paragraphs and chapters, making them easy to read on mobile devices. Writers often use simple, conversational language and vocabulary. The stories are scannable with a focus on action and drama over detailed description.
Many Wattpad stories fall into popular genres like romance, teen fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and fan fiction. Common themes and tropes include:
- Forbidden romances or love triangles
- Ordinary girl falls for billionaire, bad boy, or supernatural creature
- Adventures and action sequences
- Cliffhangers at the end of chapters
- Dialogue and banter between characters
- Dramatic plot twists
Unlike traditional publishing, Wattpad allows writers to incorporate multimedia into stories like music, images, and video. Writers can interact with readers through comments and receive instant feedback chapter-by-chapter.
What About Fan Fiction?
Yep, fan fiction stories make up a major part of Wattpad. These are stories written by fans that use characters and settings from popular books, movies, TV shows, celebrities, bands, anime, and games.
Wattpad allows writers to publish fan fiction legally as long as they follow the site’s content rules.
Some of the most popular forms of fan fiction on Wattpad include:
- Alternate universe stories
- Shipping stories
Fan fiction helps writers explore beloved fictional worlds while building their audience and improving their craft. Popular fandoms featured in Wattpad fan fiction include Harry Potter, Star Wars, K-pop, and anime like My Hero Academia.
Best Practices for Building a Wattpad Community
While there are several authors who have broken out on Wattpad, most writers are amateurs looking to build an audience.
Here are some best practices for writing Wattpad stories:
- Use an attention-grabbing opening hook
- Keep chapters short, around 1,000 – 2,000 words
- End each chapter on a cliffhanger
- Update frequently and maintain a consistent schedule
- Engage with readers through author notes and comments
- Develop an engaging main character that readers relate to
- Use drama and excitement to propel the plot forward
- Write in the first person for emotional immediacy
- Focus on action and dialogue more than description
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs and blocks of text
- Incorporate trending themes and popular tropes
- Use punchy, conversational language and vocabulary
- Add multimedia when possible to break up the text
Following these tips can help you craft a Wattpad story that connects with readers and stands out on the platform. The most important thing is telling an entertaining, addictive story with bold hooks to capture attention right from the start.
What Do Wattpad Readers Want?
As a platform focused on aspiring writers, Wattpad attracts readers looking to discover new voices and original stories they can't find anywhere else. When Wattpad users open the app, they're not necessarily searching for established authors or published works. Instead, they want to immerse themselves in the writing of fellow fans and upcoming storytellers.
Wattpad readers browse the site to find stories with plots, characters, and themes that speak specifically to their interests.
Thankfully, the platform's tag system allows them to filter stories by genre, tropes, romantic pairings, etc.
This allows readers to easily find stories tailored to their particular tastes.
Unlike traditional publishing, Wattpad provides a constantly updating feed of new content. Readers can return daily to discover the latest works from emerging voices. And with over 80 million stories to choose from, readers never have to suffer from a lack of options.
Ultimately, Wattpad readers seek out stories that speak to their unique passions. And through the direct relationships cultivated on the platform, they become invested in the development of new writers who share those passions.
The Wattpad App
As you’d expect and hope from a platform dedicated to Millennials and Generation Z, Wattpad has its own mobile app.
So what does the Wattpad Mobile app have to offer, and what does it look like in action?
- Platforms. The Wattpad mobile app can be downloaded for Android, Apple, and even Microsoft!
- Writing. You can write and share stories directly on the mobile app. This is good if you want to draft out a short story on the go and get some instant feedback.
- Reading. The Wattpad mobile app also acts as a kind of e-reader, sort of like the Kindle app. Readers can “interact” with the story, by sharing their thoughts and reactions directly with the author as they read.
Although I doubt the Wattpad mobile app will become many people’s writing application of choice, I do think it offers some cool features. For a free app, it’s a great addition to the service.
Wattpad Pros and Cons
We’ve explored everything Wattpad has to offer. So, in a nutshell, what is my take on the service?
- Free: No cost to read or write on Wattpad — and plenty offered in return.
- Open: I really feel this is a platform for creative writers. It encourages expression and is open to the most modern of genres.
- Community: Having a community of 70 million readers is an awesome resource. This is like if everyone in the United Kingdom, plus a few more million, was reading on Wattpad.
- Growth: I love the free resources offered by Wattpad and the mentorship and development opportunities available.
- Monetization: I feel as if Wattpad could offer more opportunities for authors to monetize through the platform. The new beta program is a step in the right direction, but this could definitely be developed further.
- Not for everyone: Although there are no age limits or anything, I definitely feel older or more conservative writers wouldn’t feel at home on Wattpad. It is a very liberal, very young-focused platform. That’s fine, but a lot of authors do not fit into those categories.
- Requires Time and Effort to Succeed: In order to see results from Wattpad, you're going to have to invest more time in your marketing of your book. There are lottery winners out there, but most need to invest time and energy.
However, I came across Margaret Atwood’s thoughts on Wattpad, and my cynicism softened a little. I feel that Wattpad is very up front about what they offer. Also, the fact that they give authors full ownership of their work is a big positive. There is nothing sinister or deceptive going on here.
Wattpad Review – My Final Take
Overall, I feel Wattpad can be a great resource for up-and-coming authors looking to hone their craft. If you want to get feedback and grow as an author, Wattpad can be the place to do that. It also allows you to connect with relevant writers and find fans for your work.
However, in order for an author to build a following and gain real results, they're going to have to become a Wattpad marketing guru and truly know how to get their book in front of Wattpad readers. The way I see it, though, is why not focus on a paying market like Amazon and get direct sales from all that marketing effort? If you're going to market something, might as well get paid for all your hard work, right?
I’d love to get your personal take on Wattpad. Have you used it? How have you found it? Is there anything authors need to know about Wattpad I haven’t covered here?
I’d be super grateful if you take a moment to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.